In 2004, I was a bed-ridden multidrug-resistant tuberculosis (MDR-TB) patient and missed class for more than two years. Before 2008, the medications were not available in Ethiopia. During those days, patients like myself were isolated in small rooms, waiting for their death due to the lack of access to expensive of anti-tuberculosis drugs. That was my fate. Fortunately I was able to get the life-saving drugs miraculously from a charitable organization, like the programs now supported by the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria. After two years of suffering from the drug's side effects I got the opportunity to go back to school and pursue my career as a pharmacist and global health advocate.
Our world can be a safe place to her inhabitants, but only if we win the fight against epidemics, which have showed time and again throughout history to be one of the greatest threats to our global brothers and sisters. Epidemics like the black plague, smallpox, measles and today, AIDS, TB and malaria have dealt devastating impacts for human kind.
Can you imagine if there weren't scientists, committed political leaders or health professionals standing in the gap during these challenging times? My existence would have been threatened without these heroes. They have given us tools through modern science, political will and effective partnerships like the Global Fund, to make staggering advances in global health in the short space of just over a decade.
In developing countries, HIV/AIDS, TB, and malaria continue to kill at an alarming rate, more effectively than war. These major global health threats cause substantial morbidity, mortality, negative socioeconomic impact, and human suffering. Disease-specific interventions have had a considerable impact on improving health systems. However, we still need more resources, more research and attention from the global community to get tangible results on prevention, treatment and patient care. It's time for the Big Push to defeat these diseases and we need champions and heroes now more than ever.
During the time of my fight against MDR-TB, we faced dramatic challenges, but now because of the effective interventions financed by the Global Fund and its partners, people can have a chance to get the medications freely. The Global Fund stands between life and death of millions and needs donors' commitment for increased and sustained funding.
This is my call -- from a poor nation to history makers -- to be the generation who can change the course of history. Let's march mercilessly against TB, HIV and malaria. In an age of vaccines, antibiotics and dramatic scientific progress, these diseases can be brought under control.
This post is part of a series produced by The Huffington Post, The Global Fund, and its partners as part of The Big Push campaign. For more information on The Global Fund, click here. To read more posts about The Big Push -- The Global Fund and its partners efforts to eradicate HIV/AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis -- click here.